Cross-bracing “fun”

First finished cross-brace
Finished cross-brace

Normal houses use plywood sheets at the corners to prevent the frame from racking in a high wind… but you can’t do that in a strawbale house, because the plywood traps moisture which will rot the straw. The answer is what you see here. As it turned out, our consultant saw them in the plans & decided there had to be another way — they were too “over-the-top”. His crews were not available to do the job either. That’s when I (Ted) called the engineer who had stamped the plans & wondered if they were really necessary. Yes, they were, and our architect confirmed it, even sending me pics of other SB houses under construction. The only solution left was for yours truly to manufacture them from scratch and then install all 20 pairs. Here’s what was involved:

  • Beat out heavy steel strap (to straighten it) and weld threaded rods on one end
  • Figure out how to install anchors and reinforcing strap over top of the existing ceiling beams (this should have been done before the roof & 2nd floor were put on – I’ll know better for the annex); in a few cases I had to create custom anchors
  • Climb all over the place on multiple ladders getting everything attached
  • Hire the framing crew to come out & hammer in 1000+ 16d nails to hold the straps and anchors in place, so that when I tighten the straps just before installing the bales, they will stiffen the frame to spec

If you are wondering why there aren’t more SB houses in your area, this may be one of the reasons.

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